Ice Climbing Ouray 2015
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Kevin and I skied at Keystone on our government workers holiday (every other Friday) and got to Kickaboo Tavern just as the Crown Royal shot girls were making their rounds. I stayed at the condo with Jean, Miles, and the McGaughey's for a near-sleepless night due to Miles rolling around and waking up constantly. We all met at BK's Frisco palace Saturday morning around 7am and headed west. Shafer and John were heading right for Ouray, while me, Kevin, BK, Austin, and Mike went to Redstone to check out Avocado Gully. The ice was non-existent so we continued the snowy and rainy drive over McClure Pass to Ouray. At the house some folks headed to the ice park while some of us stayed back. While attempting to tap the keg we discovered that they gave John the wrong tap for his first ever keg purchase. To adapt and overcome, we headed to the brewery for a beer and to borrow a tap, crisis averted. Lots of laughs, catching up, drinking, and eating cheese steaks that night. I turned in early since I was dragging from the night before.
Surprisingly, Red Mountain Pass was open so we took the opportunity to go over to Silverton for ice climbs Sunday morning. We made a wrong turn in town and ended up at the ski base instead of Eureka. Back at Eureka, we hiked up the road in awe of Stairway to Heaven, which had 8 climbers heading up. We choose Second Gully as our objective, 5 pitches of 800' of WI3. The first ice bulge was a warm-up and a reminder that I hadn't ice climbed close to a year. The second pitch runs out a bit, so BK setup an ice screw anchor and brought me up after I made a disaster of a nest out of the ropes, while Shafer and Kevo followed. A bit of steep snow, then the next ice pitch. Once again, coming up short of any anchor we simul-cilmbed a little. The multi-pitches, twisted ropes, wind, and cold certainly add a new dimension. BK brought me up to his anchor and I went past him further up the steep snow to a V-thread. BK went up the last pitch with the steepest section of ice to the anchor, where we shivered and waited for Shafer and Kevo. Rappel, steep snow down climb, rappel, down climb, rappel, rappel... back in the sun on the road and giant smiles. Awesome climb!!! Back at the car there was a note for Shafer to ride with us, so we immediately called John and pranked him that Shafer wasn't with us. We raced back to the house for the Superbowl, only missing the first quarter. BK grilled up some monster steaks, potatoes au gratin, and corn while we abused our livers. It was a late night of laughing and playing poker. Despite this only being my second time playing poker, I won $20 on top of the $30 I won for football squares.
Monday morning it was snowing a bit and we wanted to hop on Horsetail Falls, but a group just got there. Up to Camp Bird road, where it was surprisingly busy, and we watch snow sluff down The RIbbon non-stop onto four climbers. John, Mike, and Austin headed to Senators Gulch, while me, Shafer, and Kevo climbed Chock Up Another One. One 200' pitch of WI3-4, was just what the doctor ordered. Shafer lead it like a champ and brought me and Kevo up to the small and muddy belay. Next was the first pitch of Skylight. Nothing too difficult with a weird and thin move up and over the top. That about did it for me, sp Austin and I headed back to the house to get cleaned up and packed since he had a flight to catch and I had to head home. Another great trip to an amazing place with a group of rock-star climbers and characters.